Many studies have
in the past have indicated the benefits of inclusive education for
disabled children. This particular study also reflects a positive
sentiment of parents of hearing impaired children. They all responded
positively to the idea of inclusion. This is evident form the fact
that their children are studying in regular schools. This sentiment
was backed by special educators and speech therapists. Both sets
of population sought more co-operation and sensitivity form heads
and teachers of regular schools.
In contrast the regular
school teachers appeared to have very little or no knowledge of
the disability, namely hearing handicap or the advantages of inclusive
educational set up. Some were opposed to the idea of inclusion and
some were totally ignorant of the problems faced by such children
in regular schools. Most teachers in regular school with an exception
of a few appeared to be indifferent toward inclusive education in
general and disable children in particular.
The expectations of
regular teachers as well as special educators from parents of hearing
impaired children were very similar. They included regular visits
to schools, consistency in supporting the child with day to day
work, explaining difficult concepts, and providing positive reinforcement
to build confidence in the child. In most cases these expectations
were matched by the parental efforts. In addition some parents also
helped the child by providing opportunities for social interaction
with the class mates as well as other friends to enhance language
and speech skills.
In response to the
question, ‘What would you like to change about the school in inclusive
educational set up?’ Some regular teachers were of the opinion that
there should be less noise in the class room. Similar need was expressed
by 50% of hearing impaired children. Both the regular teachers and
the hearing impaired children shared the view that there should
be less number of children in the class. To combat the problem of
noise, some parents had suggested the provision of FM system in
regular schools. Though FM system has its advantages in noise reduction,
considering the price factor, how practical would it be?
According to both
the regular teachers as well as parents, hearing impaired children
had difficulty in learning 2nd and 3rd languages,
Social Studies and oral work like recitation and dictation. SSC
board has given exemption from learning 2nd and 3rd
languages at primary as well as secondary level to such children
studying in regular schools. This provision also extends to junior
level college education. Is similar exemption given by ICSC or CBC
boards? In spite of this provision the school authorities insist
on their learning 2nd and 3rd languages.
Many special educators
and regular teachers feel that there should be a resource teacher
in the regular school itself to help the hearing impaired child
to cope with the difficulties faced by him on a day to day basis.
Govt. has made a provision for one special teacher per every eight
hearing impaired children in a regular school. Many regular school
authorities are not aware of this provision and those who are aware,
do not avail this facility due to red tapism in fund allocation.
All the parents, special
educators as well as regular teachers acknowledged and recommended
the need for such a child to sit in a front row. This would decrease
the distance between the teacher and the child to facilitate better
listening and lip reading of what was being said by the teacher.
There was disparity in responses
of regular teachers and those of special educators to a question
regarding mode of communication used by the child. According to
normal teachers only 53% of children communicated ‘only verbally’
and rest of 47% of children used gestures as well. In contrast according
to special educators 87% of children communicated ‘only verbally’
and only 13% of children used gestures as well. (Refer to Fig 11)
The reason for this disparity may be due to special educator’s familiarity
with the child’s speech which is easily understood by her where
as regular teacher may face difficulty in understanding somewhat
unintelligible speech and the child may resort to use of gestures
to make him self understood. None of the children used signs.